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What kit to get and from where

This page contains information about suitable equipment to buy for ordinary college and personal use, based on OUACC's experience of using similar equipment. For information about how to learn the basics of the game, where to go to see the OUACC demonstration match and how to receive free OUACC coaching, please follow this link.

If you are considering buying kit, and would like to try out similar items before you buy or would like some further advice, then do not hesitate to get in touch with the OUACC Committee.

Where to buy equipment

Croquet kit can be bought 'ready boxed', but this is rarely the best way of buying kit, nor the cheapest. The most economic way of buying equipment is to buy the best value pieces of kit separately.

Separate pieces (and sets) are available from various shops, but for many items the Croquet Association Shop offers better prices than the high-street. Contact the CA shop on 01242 242318 or email sales@croquet.org.uk. Note that being a U25 Premium Croquet Association Member (£8/£15) gives you a 10% member discount in the CA Shop, So for example a George Wood mallet (£262-284), it it cheaper to join and buy a mallet than buy a mallet on its own. All you have to do is persuade your college/JCR to buy into the idea! Do check that the sum remains correct and exactly which items and how many of each are discounted in your membership deal!

Croquet Association (CA) Membership
Basic Under 25 (U25) membership of the Croquet Association is free (for first 25 OUACC applicants) - contact the OUACC Secretary for information. If you play in many tournaments it may be worth becoming a Premium U25 member for only £8/£15*.

* £15 if you receive paper copies of the magazine.

Suitable Equipment for College Use

The sections below contain details of items suitable for college use, and which are commonly used at OUACC. For detailed information about buying kit see http://www.oxfordcroquet.com/equip. The prices in the sections below are only given for guidance: for up-to-date prices, please contact the supplier.

Balls

There are currently 2 types of CA approved balls you can purchase. These meet the tight specifications (size, bounce, weight) required:

  • Dawson International
    Priced at around £404 (!) for a set of four balls, and available from the Croquet Association Shop. These are generally regarded as being the best balls and are a favourite amongst tournament organisers. However, these are quite expensive for colleges to be able to afford. On the other hand they are very durable and should last for many years.
  • Sunshiny Tournament
    Priced at £286 for a set of four, available from the Croquet Association Shop. These are more suitable for college purchases given their lower price. As with the Dawson's, these are of the approved by the CA and match tournament ball specifications.

Many other balls do not meet the CA specifications. If you have to economise ensure that the balls weigh 16 oz.

Mallets

When buying mallets there are several factors to consider, as well as price:

  • Handle length
    The most common length is 36", but if you are buying several for a college, it may be useful to include one that is slightly longer, for example 38", which may be more comfortable for taller players. Conversely, a shorter one can be useful, although this is less critical since players can always hold their hands slightly lower down.
  • Handle material
    Although mallets with wooden shafts are sometimes cheaper than other types, for general use in a college it is often worth spending a little extra to buy a mallet with a carbon fibre or metal shaft which will not break as easily, if it receives rough treatment from inexperienced players. Having replacement shafts fitted is expensive.
  • Weight
    The typical weight is approximately 3lb, since this often provides the best compromise for the demands of different strokes.
  • Head length
    Basic mallets often have approximately 9" long heads. However, where a longer head-length is an available option, it is well worth considering since longer heads are more 'stable' and more accurate to play with. For this reason the mallets used by the top players all tend to be about 12" long. Bear in mind also that longer length heads are easier to catch on the ground as the mallet is swung - for this reason for college use it is not advisable to buy a mallet with a head that is longer than 11".
  • Head width
    Narrower heads enable some shots to be played that might be hampered by a wider head, and most more expensive mallets tend to be quite narrow. However, for inexperienced players, such as for general college use, it is advisable to have a mallet with a relatively wide head to reduce the likelihood of miss-hitting.

The following is a selection of mallets could be of interest.

  • Manor House's "2000" (~£250) carbon fibre shaft, mallet wooden heads. Longer heads are available. Supplied by the manufacturer "Dave Trimmer". As well as owning many of the standard (approx 9") head-length mallets, OUACC has recently purchased some with longer heads. For more details on his range of available mallets see this page.
  • PHC mallets from South Africa - rapid delivery
  • M.C. Percival Mallets - www.croquetmallets.co.uk
  • George Wood - available from the CA Shop (Note 10% discount for Croquet Association Premium members).

Don't forget that there are also charges for postage. If you buy a number of mallets, where applicable, postage is charged at bulk rates.

Hoops

Avoid any hoops wider that ~3 3/4" (95 mm); 4" is unacceptable. If your college buys solid metal hoops they should last many years. Wire hoops are a poor substitute. Currently search for hoops on the Croquet Association shop site, as their menuing system is erratic.

Examples of solid metal approved hoops:

George Wood Championship Croquet Hoops - Set of 6, £309.

Jaques offer a cast hoop with solid carrots (£302).

You may also want to purchase a hoop dibber/drill to make the initial holes, ideally from the same manufacturer as made the hoops.

Lighter weight hoops can be used if the budget will not stretch. For further information see the CA Shop's webpage: www.croquetassociationshop.org.uk

Other

For more casual play, such as garden croquet, equipment can be found at http://www.croquetonline.com. They also supply John Hobbs Mallets, however it must be noted that OUACC has no experience with ordering from this particular website.

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